Some Authors And Schools Of Thought Of Interest To Godsil As Mentor

Some Background Reading of Value to a City Hoping to Harness The Power Of The Internet

  • to enhance its capacity to train, attract, and retain citizens with multiple skills sets adding high value to exchange with the world market place

  • but also citizens adding high value to the Milwaukee social product with respect to developing a “civil culture” that sparks a renaissance:
    • a civil society that develops “creatives.”
    • A city that consciously uses the internet to develop projects that spawn “creatives”

A book worth reading for starters around this theme would be Richard Florida, “The Rise of the Creative Class.”

Here are some of my top-of-the head thoughts around the issue of the “creative class.” Florida’s book, if this theme interests you, is worthy reading fast in its entirety, or at least enough so you feel pretty comfortable with the main outline. Perhaps you could google him and find an article that sums up the book.

Creatives are people at the “edge” of their respective trade, profession, role, in terms of “value added” per labor hour involved. But also, creatives often foster new enterprises, methodologies, technologies, modes of expression, social movements, and values.

Creatives are manifestations of the early American vision of an equalitarian society of free and “equal” citizens. Creatives are positioning themselves in the civil society and the polity such that they are increasingly round-table participants in social exchange and institutions. The “Free Agent Nation” in the making is a nation of creatives in the making.

It is hard to be a “creative” for people inclined to imagine themselves as lacking the skills to “be their own boss.” Many people are hesitant to face the market place on their own, but prefer to enter the market place as employees of already existing institutions. The world of employees of hierarchal institutions is quite different from that of “creatives” in their own businesses, or as “free lancers” or “consultants” or “just in-time” knowledge workers, or grant writer to exeuctive director of non-profit enterprise, to owner of small business start up, and so forth.

Status anxiety is a powerful force that is getting increased attention these days. Excessive “deference” and hesitancy to give “voice” is rooted in ancient class and status rankings that have been eroding over the past 2,000 years in “western” civilization. We have come quite a way from a culture that lost its mind and sent its most beautiful children to be buried with its dead pharoes. The Greeks and the Romans made advances in the democratization of social life from the days of the pharoes and the sultans. The people of Europe, most noteably in our training, the people of the British Isles and France, and then the American Revolutionists, and then the French, ushered in republics, societies of law, and a certain amount of social leveling that is still an ongoing social drama.

I suppose it is also possible that “creatives” require a certain kind of “neurological” foundation. Notions of “genetically based affinities” for certain kinds of character structures seem to have more support as plausible hypohtesis in a genes/culture combination. Wilson’s “Consilience” is a spectacular exposition of notions of “human nature” and the genetic foundation for certain kinds of social behavior and institutions. Worth googling and browing around a bit.

Books That Help People Get Beyond Status Anxiety and “Class or Race Bound Consciousness”

It would be very helpful to see if you can access the “kernels of rationality” in these books by artful use of “google” “wikipedia,” or some other internet tool. I would be very happy if you could read a couple of one or two page summaries of the books below written by Veblen, Mills, Wright, Diamond, and Friedman while at home. It would be great if there were on-line books that let you go through the index of these books and pick out the key concepts that, according to one’s learning “mentor” or “partner,” are rich in value for the project.
If you have a chance to go to a library and just root through these works for an hour or so, as the Spirit moves you, it would give you some access to key concepts animating Godsil’s part of this joint-venture of the mind.

  • Kropotkin, “Mutual Aid.”

  • Thorsten Veblen, “Theory of the Leisure Class” see if you can find pages from index that treat of “individious status comparison” and “conspicuous consumption”

  • C. Wright Mills, “White Collar,” the Chapter on “Work”

  • Kay Redfield Jamison, “Exuberance: The Passion for Life,” Chapter !, “Incapable of Being Indiferent,” and Chapter 3, “Playing Fields of the Mind.”

  • Richard Wright, “The Logic of Human Destiny,” read index and see if you can understand concepts “culture memes,” and “reciprocal altruism” as key factor to explain cultural evolution.

  • Jared Diamond, “Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies.”

  • Thomas Friedman, “The Lexus and the Olive Tree,” check index for concepts “connectivity,” and “super empowered individuals.”

  • Poetry of Walt Whitman from “Leaves of Grass,” and works by Sufi poets Rumi and Hafiz. I’ll look for some passages from these 3 poets that make sense as I learn more about your interests, background, and professional ambitions.

  • David S. Reynolds, “Walt Whitman’s America: A Cultural Biography.”

If you, by hook or crook, can acquire a passing familiarty with some of the main concepts of these authors and these books the theoretical portion of the class would be wondrously met.

Books on the Internet as Some Kind of “Social Brain”

We should try to find out the most highly regarded study of the power of the internet to foster community and develop the civil societies of the historic city of our metropolitan regions.

Last edited by g. Based on work by JeffBarke.  Page last modified on February 02, 2006

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